2013 Audi S6 Review

November 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Car Tech, Reviews, Spotlight

Exterior

With the improvement in engine technology where V6s of today can outclass the V8s of yesterday and turbos giving a lot of power four pots, it’s no surprise to see that manufacturers like Audi provide S-line bodykits for their “regular” cars. You get the looks of something sporty to match the exciting performance of a relatively fast engine without having to splurge the extra cash.

Indeed this was the case with the recent introduction of the new A4/ A6/ A8 from Audi, which came with optional S-line packages. However, today I’ll be looking at the actual 2013 Audi S6, which comes with the fascinating power the “S” moniker stands for, not just a body for show.

Ironically the S6 is perhaps one of the most subdued car designs I’ve seen in recent memory when it comes to showing off power. There’s no bodykit, nothing flashy at all, not even the tires are ridiculously large. In fact, the new Audi S6 is a case study in its subtlety and the way it expresses its dominance on the roads.

At first glance the S6 looks like the regular A6, and even after a second glance you’ll find nothing special at all. That is until you start noticing the silver strips across the front grill. There’s even a little chin extended under the groove of the front bumper. And apart from the insidious “S6” logo, there’s nothing much else to look at. Of course, the headlights now look more like General Grievous from Star Wars Episode III more than ever!

On the sides we have nothing except the new 20-inch 5-spoked rims that look slightly odd against the very angular edges of the body. The back is similarly simple, but with some few rather noticeable changes, understated as they are.

We now have a pair of twin tailpipes extending ever so slightly from the rear bumper. And instead of a huge diffuser, we see a simple silver-brown extension stretching out between the tailpipes. And lest I forget, the boot has a lip on top that accentuates the already curved edge on the top.

Like I said, the S6 looks very similar to the regular A6, but with some understated changes that belies the power under the hood.

Interior

From the inside the S6 is almost the same as the regular A6, with the only changes coming in the form of the excellent looking leather seats and the “S6” logos. The steering wheel has a circular center, rather than the semi-circle design of the A6. Otherwise the dashboard, button layout and instrument cluster is the exact same.

One of the more subtle changes also comes from the available carbon fiber trim instead of the woodgrain on the A6. The whole black and silver and grey color combination may not be to the liking of everyone, but to a car lover it feels very satisfying.

The cabin of the S6 is just as noiseless as the A6, with hardly any sound coming from the V8 under normal driving conditions. It’s not until you’re flooring it, or when you’re in ‘Sports’ mode that you hear the V8 rumble. Even then, however, the S6 never sounds angry or puts you in the mood for fast driving; the engine purrs into power, much like Jaguar’s 5.0 supercharged V8s.

The Drive

The Audi S6 is powered by a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 making 420HP and 550Nm torque that propels it from 0 to 100kmph in 4.6 seconds. For comparison the previous generation RS6 with its 5.0-liter twin-turbocharged V10 made that sprint in the same time!

The 7-speed S-tronic dual-clutch DSG gearbox provides extremely smooth shifts under normal driving mode, while the Sports mode always ensures prompt power delivery and torque at the slightest push.

Unlike the A6 with its 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, the power delivery of the S6’s twin-turbo V8 was extremely smooth and very potent throughout the rev band, even when switching from 4 to 8 cylinders. In case I forgot to mention, the S6’s V8 has a 4-cylinder mode when the car is using cruise control or whenever you’re feather-footing the accelerator. The result is very impressive average fuel economy of 11 to 12 liters/ 100km of mixed city and little bit of Sheikh Zayed Road driving in Dubai. And then there’s the start/ stop feature which automatically shuts down the engine when you stop on a traffic light; restarting again when you lift the foot off the brake.

The end result of all this fuel efficiency is that the 2013 Audi S6 is an extremely easy daily driver, despite all the power from the engine and the sharp handling form the Quattro all-wheel drive system. Not once did I feel that I wasn’t utilizing the full potential of the engine as I do with other cars from the same segment. The new Audi S6 looks suave, has a lot of power without being unabashed about it, and is perfectly poised in handling and comfort to be used for the whole family.

Old functioning digital computer restored

November 22, 2012 by  
Filed under News

It's 63 years old, but still smiling.

Yeah, that’s a computer. The world’s oldest functioning digital computer, in fact, which has now been restored after three years of hard work. I hope it was worth it.

It was made in 1949, and weighed a massive two and a half tonnes. It was slow, even back then, being out-paced by other smaller computers. For example, it would take multiplying two numbers a good ten seconds. But it was reliable and was at the heart of Britain’s atomic energy research programme. Even back then, technology got old really fast, and when the Witch was no longer needed, it was donated to the Wolverhampton University. It got its nickname, Witch, from there. The full form of it is ‘Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computation from Harwell’.

In 1997, it became a museum piece and was put into storage, and got promptly lost. But luckily, in 2009 the Computer Conservation Society (yes, there is one for that) found it and quickly began restoring the age-old computer. And it still works! It is now on display the Bletchley Park.

I wonder if the same would be done for the iPhone? But oh wait, iTunes might not support it.

Google updates indoor maps for desktops

November 22, 2012 by  
Filed under News

Google has announced a new update to Google Maps for the desktop – over 10,000 indoor maps. This brings the desktop version of the mapping service on par with the Android version, which was the first to receive the feature almost a year ago.

Currently indoor maps are only available in locations like Japan, Switzerland, UK, Denmark, USA, France, Canada and Sweden. A host of locations are mapped including airports, museums, universities, departmental stores, train stations and even resorts. A list is available here.

The announcement also encourages venue owners to add their own floor plans to the growing list.

This is great news for slightly obsessive travelers who can now map their route through a busy airport or museum, well before their trip right on their computers.

Google, please add the UAE to your list soon. Because this writer is not afraid to be the first to admit that she would appreciate an indoor map of the pocket universe that is Dubai Mall.

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